One of the foundation elements of all of our programs is the importance of shifting your mindset to ways of thinking that better suit continuous change and agility.

The core shifts that support change and agility from our perspective are from:

  • Engagement to Empathy
  • Expert to Beginner
  • Perfection to Done
  • Failure Avoidance to Failure Seeking
  • Self-judgment to Self-compassion

From time to time we are challenged as to how doable this is.

It absolutely is doable – but as with everything there are some considerations to factor in.

What is a mindset?

A mindset represents a set of filters, attitudes and beliefs that process information to guide how you operate. Your mindset is shaped by these influences that you believe to be true and have a good dose of certainty to them to you. This attachment to certain filters, attitudes and beliefs then influences what the data is that you search for when trying to answer a question. The degree of confidence you have in your beliefs creates a self-confirming cognitive bias of data seeking, and with this, creates additional stability to the mindset you hold (the fixedness).

You can shift those beliefs and attitudes, indeed change them completely, depending on the importance of the change and the proof provided to you as the importance of the change.

At some point, it gets more difficult to find data that supports a pre-existing attitude, and the certainty in your belief may erode as the external environment changes.

Mindset change occurs either naturally, organically and introspectively, that is, over time you change your beliefs and attitudes about an idea, a concept or situation. Or you are guided through that mindset change deliberately with the help of a professional, a peer or a development program conducted by your organisation.

You don’t change a mindset with a training event!

What’s important to recognise is that you don’t change a mindset by enrolling people in a one-day event. Nor is it a binary toggle – that you can flip one for the other with intention. The reality is it is a continuum, and we all vacillate on that continuum depending on the issue at hand, the enabling factors, and the organisational barriers to trying new ways of thinking.

Changing mindsets take the same approach as any other change in the organisation.

  • You need to be aware of the alternative,
  • You need to understand why the alternative is important,
  • You need to have opportunity to try to think and lead using those beliefs and attitudes and build confidence in their efficacy.

Once you see benefits in the newer beliefs and attitudes (for you), you become more committed to that mindset. It’s for this reason we use experiments in our Certificate of Agile Change Leadership Program to help people test new ways of thinking in a safe way.


Barriers to mindset shifts

We mentioned organisational barriers to shifting your way of thinking – this occurs when the organisation has legacy policies and practices that support the former way of thinking and have not updated them to reflect the newer way of thinking. In many companies it is career limiting to focus on done is better than perfect and you only get promoted on expertise. These are factors that will undermine the shift to a mindset that’ supports change and agility.

But, if you have the organisational headwinds blowing in your favour these five shifts noted above can be very liberating!

You have the freedom to:

  • no longer have to be right,
  • no longer have to be perfect.
  • not have to know all the answers,
  • not need clarity before you talk with your teams.
  • not sit in shame storm when doing something new for the first time.


Curious how you stack up with these five mindset shifts?

Head to our Agile Mindset Quiz to find out!